When you’re choosing which bank to use, there’s a lot more to consider than simply location. Sure, Bank of America or Chase might have locations all over the place, but TD Bank waives ATM fees altogether. A lot of the major banks have rewards for opening an account with them, while all charge their customers in the fine print.
If you’re planning on switching banks any time soon, it’s important to do your research and find out exactly what you’re getting along with that bank account.
Chase offers a pretty flashy deal of up to $350 in coupons for opening accounts with them, but very specific conditions apply. If you open a checking account with $25 or more and have your direct deposit from the government or employer set up within 60 days, you may receive $200. For opening a savings account, you can receive $150, but only if you deposit $10,000 or more within the first 10 days of opening.
Chase Total Checking charges its customers a $12 fee monthly to hold an account. In order to avoid this fee, checking account owners are required to have $500 worth of direct deposits in a given month, a balance of $1,500 at the beginning of each day throughout the month, or an average beginning day balance of $5,000 between your checking account and other investments. If you’re not the type to consistently have that much money available, best open an account elsewhere.
In certain Northeast states, Santander has a promotion until June 30, 2017 offering $225 to customers opening a basic checking account provided they direct deposit $500 or more within the first 90 days of opening the account. The account needs to stay open for another 90 days, and then the bonus is earned. The code Spring225 has to be entered for this promotion to be valid.
Santander’s accounts are generally more straightforward and affordable than Chase. The basic checking account charges its customers a $3 monthly fee that cannot be waived. Their "premiere plus checking" account charges $35 per month unless you maintain "a combined balance of $75,000 in deposits and investments or have $6,000 or more in monthly total direct deposits during the service fee period." Their student value checking account has a $0 fee with no monthly minimum balance.
Bank of America
Bank of America offers varied bonuses for opening accounts, from their personal checking account ($100 with a direct deposit of $250 in the first 90 days) to a tiered system for opening a savings account and depositing these corresponding amounts of "new money" within 30 days:
Image: Bank of America
The promotion for savings accounts ends June 30, 2017.
Bank of America’s checking accounts have fees similar to Chase, though they may vary state to state. The Core Checking accounts charge a $12 fee monthly unless you directly deposit $250 or more, or you have a daily balance of $1,500 or more throughout the month. The fee can be waived for students. The Interest Checking accounts are a little more complicated, with a $25 monthly fee that can be waived if you have at least $10,000 total after adding up your account, IRAs, and Merrill Lynch investment accounts.
Open a TD Bank Premier Checking account and you can earn $300 in bonus money. They require a direct deposit of $2,500 within the first 60 days of opening your account. If you open a TD Convenience Checking account, you can get a $150 bonus for direct depositing at least $500 or more within 60 days.
The Premier Checking accounts are charged a $25 monthly fee unless a $2,500 minimum daily balance is maintained throughout the month. The Convenience Checking accounts are charged $15 maintenance fee unless a $100 daily balance is maintained.
Here’s a breakdown of the two checking accounts offered by TD Bank:
Image: TD Bank
If you open a Citi Priority Account package you can be eligible for up to $500 in a bonus. You are required to deposit $50,000 into one of your accounts (Savings Plus, Savings, or checking) within 30 days of opening it, then maintain at least that balance for 60 consecutive days.
Citi charges a $25 monthly fee to its "Basic Banking Package" customers, which can be waived by maintaining a $1,500 balance or receiving a direct deposit to the account while also making a "qualifying bill payment" using the bank’s system.
When you’re looking to open a new account, it’s important to weigh all of your options and find what’s right for you personally. Don’t get distracted by the big numbers for bonuses without looking at the fine print! And always consider the monthly fees you’re signing up for when you deposit your money at an institution.
Image: Ning Ham